Erik is only a young boy when he first discovers his great passion for music. Just before his third birthday, he listens to his mother playing the piano, and with excitement, he realizes his life will always be filled with music. Sadly though, along with that powerful and comforting emotion, there is also sorrow. Erik's mother fears him because of his facial deformity, and he is forever scarred by her rejection. His father loves and protects him and tries to guide his young son's rapidly growing genius mind and disturbed heart. Nevertheless, Erik's soul begins to fill with loathing for the world that shuns him, causing him to wage a fierce battle between murderous hatred and compassionate love. Erik's temper erupts violently at times, endangering the lives of those around him as well as his own. Ultimately, he is abandoned and left alone to battle not only a world destined to cause him harm but also his tortured heart.
Discover the astonishing life of Erik, and journey into the private world and intimate thoughts of the man known as the Phantom of the Opera. Be with him as he struggles to balance his brilliant mind and tormented soul.
(Image and description from Goodreads.com)
Anyway, onto the good stuff – come on – I may be TOTALLY going into this book in crazy detail but you didn’t honestly think I was going to give the ending away did you?
The major story that is explored in the last 100 pages or so of this book is the birth of Erik’s ‘other’ side. It is true that up until now he has been losing his temper but more than anything those fits would fall under childish tantrums. The anger that he feels now is the kind that totally alters his personality and switches off the side of him that is only a little boy. This is the side that is cold and ruthless and could kill if pushed to do such a thing.
I think we all have these two sides of us warring within – perhaps like the Jekyll and Hyde theory – and some of us can control it better than others, keeping ourselves in check. And although we may feel the burning whit hot anger bubbling inside us we hold ourselves back knowing that ultimately our reacting would not help.
But Erik is unable to hold this side of him back – and I don’t think that he really wants to either at some points. With the way that he is treated by others and then his added intelligence I think these factors make it harder for him to control especially as he sees it as a way of protecting himself from emotional and physical damage.
It was heart-breaking at times to see him striking out at his tormentors to only realise that he was harming his father at the same time. And that was the only thing he truly felt remorse for. It wasn’t his actions or the harm he was causing other people that he regretted; it was the harm he was causing his father - the one person who had always loved him unconditionally.
This thought from Erik really summed it up for me.
“…if they were going to be careless with my heart, then why should I be careful with their minds. Shouldn’t I be allowed something for the price I had to pay for my face?”
Like I have said that just sums it up for me. The way his mind is working, how he is feeling, everything comes out in that line.
But, despite his father’s love for Erik and Erik’s love for his father I couldn’t help but feel that sometimes his father went around things the wrong way. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it was almost like despite how hard they tried they were always on different levels. And yet there are times when Erik’s thoughts and actions are really that of a young child and not the genius that his mind is making him. One of my favourite bits is when Erik’s tells us of how ‘grown up and accomplished’ he feels when his father trusted him enough to let him work without supervision. I think that it is wonderful that despite how highly advanced Erik is mentally he still has the needs of a child to feel like they are receiving approval from adults they care for.
There are so many plot points and character changes in this book that it would be impossible to go into them all without typing the entire book out. Everything fits in seamlessly. There were no points that were raised that were done so for no reason. Everything slotted together and it is wonderful to see the bigger picture emerging as each mile stone in Erik’s life shapes him to be the person that will be the Opera Ghost.
The excitement of Erik’s first trip to the opera leaped of the page as he took in every single detail around him – I couldn’t help but smile as he likened all the men to penguins in their dress clothes and top hats (another childish moment coming through that I loved).
And there is such another big link to the future Erik that I nearly squealed in excitement. And it is far too good to give away. If you have already read this book let me know what you think I am talking about.
Having the novel bookended by Erik present and semi-present life is great and gives teasers to what the future books will be like that will be dealing with Christine and Erik – can’t wait to read them – and the journey there will be definitely worth the trip.
This book was an emotional roller-coaster of events. I very nearly got whip lash. I have never read a book before - that I can remember – that has captured all of my emotions so thoroughly. And have never had to put a book down because I thought my head or my heart where going to explode only to desperately need to pick it up again to know what was going to happen next, what would be the next thing to shape Erik, how he would react to the situation…
It captured me well and truly.
This was first posted to my Phantom Novel Reviews Blog 15th April 2011